Today’s word is especially useful if you’re gonna spend Christmas with your lover ;)
hüten is related to to heed and originally meant “to watch over something or someone” (with a focus on protection). The away-ver changes that to “to prevent” – you’re on watch so something stays away.
Today, verhindern is the standard translation for to prevent – except in one very relevant field: sex. Verhüten is THE word for to use any kind of contraception and it’s only used in that context.
das Verhütungsmittel – contraceptive
- Wir haben nicht verhütet.
- We didn’t use a contraceptive.
- Wie verhütest du?
- Which way of contraception do you use?
By the way… hüten comes from the same root as the hat or der Hut. The Indo-Eurpean root *kadh- meant “cover, protect, protective cover”.